Grant Hartwig of the Mets poses for a portrait at...

Grant Hartwig of the Mets poses for a portrait at Clover Park on Feb. 23 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Getty Images/Elsa

HOUSTON — Grant Hartwig, who upon graduating from college in 2021 planned to go to medical school and aspired to work in baseball as an orthopedic surgeon, fulfilled a lifelong dream Monday by making it to the majors . . . as a pitcher.

The Mets called up the 25-year-old righthander to help fortify a bullpen that will remain shorthanded all week because of Drew Smith’s foreign substance suspension. He entered Monday night’s game in the ninth inning with an 11-1 lead, allowed a single on his third pitch to Mauricio Dubon, got a double-play ball, issued a walk and recorded a game-ending forceout.

Hartwig put himself firmly on manager Buck Showalter’s radar with a strong showing in major-league spring training, then had a decent couple of months with Triple-A Syracuse (4.21 ERA, 1.64 WHIP).

Less than two years after signing with the Mets as an undrafted free agent, Hartwig is sharing a clubhouse with the likes of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, the aces of the Tigers teams he rooted for while growing up in the Detroit area.

“He’s got a good arm. Everybody knew it,” Showalter said. “Great job by our scouting and player development to get him to this point. I’m happy for him. It was very obvious in the spring that he had a good arm. A lot of people like what he could potentially bring.”

Hartwig comes armed with a mid-90s fastball, a slider and a new cutter he started throwing this year that he especially uses against lefthanded hitters.

“It’s been very good. Honestly, it’s been my best pitch to lefties,” he said. “A lot of weak contact, swings and misses. It opens up a lot for me, being able to throw a sinker and slider. But I think that’s a big equalizer for me, being able to throw that up and in, being able to elevate that pitch and add a level to my repertoire.”

Hartwig’s back story, as he and others told Newsday during spring training, is an unusual one. When he finished as a fifth-year senior at Miami (Ohio) University in 2021, he prepared for med school. He considered himself done as a pitcher by virtue of graduation. But the Mets called in July 2021, two weeks before he was scheduled to take the Medical College Admission Test, and offered him a contract.

In 2022, his first full professional season, he zoomed from Low-A St. Lucie to Triple-A Syracuse, posting a 1.75 ERA and striking out 83 batters in 56 2⁄3 innings across four levels of the minors.

He found out late Sunday that the Mets had decided to promote him. That meant a 7 a.m. flight to Houston, plus spontaneous travel arrangements for his parents, Colleen and Chris.

“It’s definitely paid off,” Hartwig said of his school-versus-sports life decision. “Two years ago, I didn’t think I would be here. But it is what it is. It’s awesome. It’s amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Extra bases

The Mets sent righthander John Curtiss back to Syracuse to clear a roster spot for Hartwig . . . Joey Lucchesi was named pitcher of the week for the Triple-A International League. In one start with Syracuse, he struck out six in 6 2⁄3 scoreless innings and allowed two hits. Lucchesi has a 2.33 ERA in eight starts in the minors this year . . . Houston hit 100 degrees with a feels-like temperature of 110 in the hours before the Mets’ series opener at (indoor) Minute Maid Park. “It’s amazing what people are willing to do to not pay a state income tax,” said a self-aware Showalter, who lives in the Dallas area.

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